The Real Reason Your Guy Treats You Like Crap

You deserve better.

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I receive hundreds of letters every week. And let's be real: men and women in healthy relationships aren't the ones writing to ask me for relationship advice.

When I hear from people all over the world asking for insights about love, marriage, dating, and communication, some of the most common questions I'm asked are, "What did he mean when he said ____?" and "Why did she tell me that she ____?"

Often, the answers are highly individualized, so I get into the nitty-gritty details with those who write in, decrypting things and shining the proverbial light on the middle-of-the-road truth.


But it saddens me that one of the most commonly asked questions I receive is this:

"Why does he treat me like crap? I feel like my husband hates me."

Let's get something out of the way: I'm not talking about women writing in about physically abusive relationships. That's not only treating someone "badly," it's also a felony.

If you find yourself in a physically violent relationship, leave. Period. The End.

The relationships I'm discussing fall into the less understood, often complex area involving behaviors that might be considered emotional abuse.

RELATED: The Painful Reality Of Being Emotionally Abused By An Ex Every Day


How do you know if a guy is treating you badly?

Negative interactions and poor treatment in an emotionally abusive relationship are most definitely damaging to your well-being.

Signs of emotional abuse can also be harder to recognize for what they are or for why they are happening.

These relationships keep you questioning yourself and second-guessing things you each say and do in a never-a-dull-moment style, leaving you whispering to yourself, "It wasn't always this way, was it?"

No, it probably wasn't always ... and that's what is so insidious and damaging.

Your guy probably does treat you right, sometimes.

But now that you're deeper into the relationship and feelings are out in the open, he's changed. Maybe he isn't available as often as he once was (without a genuine excuse), or perhaps he is emotionally distant without explanation, or maybe he starts fights and arguments, withholds affection, has simply stopped being thoughtful, or has just disconnected from you.


It all leaves you asking yourself some ugly, self-destructive questions.

"What did I do wrong? What's wrong with me? What did I do to make him change?"

Reality check: You didn't do anything to make him change. Without a weapon, be it physical or emotional, no one has the power to make someone do anything they don't want.

When a man treats you badly, he is choosing to act this way.

And not only is he choosing it, you, likewise, are allowing and enabling it.

Why do I let him treat me bad?

Here's the harsh truth: People can only treat you in ways you allow.

In essence, you give permission and imbue people with the knowledge of how they can get away with treating you.


If you're settling for someone's poor treatment or halfway efforts, you're silently telling them, "I'm OK with this. Or at least, I won't cause you too much trouble. You may continue."

Unfortunately, this explanation, while accurate, doesn't provide all the information needed for a genuine or comprehensive explanation of this particular pattern of what is, in fact, a form of domestic violence.

But one culprit is a lack of self-esteem on your part.

People generally find themselves treated in ways they don't like because one, on occasion, they receive the love they want, and they put up with poor behavior the rest of the time to get the crumbs of love they hope to receive at some point in the future, and two, their self-esteem is so low, they feel (consciously or subconsciously) that this is what they deserve.


If you put up with bad treatment, that tells your partner that you don't respect yourself. You show him that you believe you're only worthy of the unacceptable way he treats you.

And each time you go back and forgive him, you reinforce his bad behavior.

RELATED: I Saved Myself From An Emotionally Abusive BF (And You Can Too!)

What do I do if a guy is treating me badly?

Escaping this cycle is challenging, as your sense of self-worth gets locked up in the relationship, creating a constant search for moments of love amidst long bouts of indifference.


If you've communicated your needs and he refuses to alter his treatment of you, sometimes the only way out of the cycle is, well ... out.

Move on to someone who treats you like a treasure. And by "someone," I don't mean a new relationship. I mean move on to you.

Self-worth and self-esteem emanate from self.


Start with you. Respect and value yourself, and everyone around you will have no choice but to follow your lead.

Understanding the nuances of emotional abuse can be overwhelming. If you think you or someone you care about is being abused and may be in danger call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522.

RELATED: You Can Get PTSD From Staying In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship

Charles J. Orlando is a bestselling author and relationship expert who has spent the last 10-plus years connecting with tens of thousands of people to answer two key questions: What challenges plague romantic relationships in today's technology-centric world; and what do people truly want from their significant others in a long-term relationship?